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  • Road Deterioration in Developing Countries Causes and Remedies

  • A World Bank Policy Study

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  • Road Deterioration in Developing Countries

    Causes and Remedies

    The World Bank Washington, D. C.

  • Road Deterioration in Developing Countries: Causes and Remedies was prepared under the direction of Louis Y. Pouliquen, director, Infrastructure and Urban Development Department, Clell Harral and Asif Faiz were the principal authors. Substantial contributions were made by Esra Bennathan, Graham Smith (chapter 4), and Anil Bhandari (chapter 2). Frida Johansen made an initial assessment of the global magnitude of road deterioration. Per Fossberg and William Paterson provided help on technical and engi- neering issues, and Edward Holland assisted in drafting the report. The guidance and comments given by S. Shahid Husain, Parvez Hasan, Curt Carnemark, Sir Alan Walters, and Gregory Ingram are gratefully acknowledged. Thanks also go to regional transport staff who reviewed the report at various stages; Meta de Coquereaumont and Bruce Ross- Larson for editing; Rodrigo Archondo-Callao and Olivier Bottrie for research assistance; and Mari Dhokai, Marjeana Gutrick, and Pamela Cook for typing.

    Copyright 0 1988 by The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20433, U.S.A.

    All rights reserved Manufactured in the United States of America First printing June 1988

    The judgments expressed in this study do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Banks Board of Executive Directors or of the governments that they represent.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Harral, Clell G. Road deterioration in developing countries: causes and

    remedies. p. cm.-(A World Bank policy study, ISSN 0258-2120)

    Prepared by Clell Harral and Asif Faiz, with contributions by Esra Bennathan, Graham Smith, and Anil Bhandari-T.p. verso.

    Bibliography: p. ISBN o-8213-1039-9 1. Roads-Developing countries-Maintenance and

    repair. 2. Roads-Developing countries-Deterioration. I. Faiz, Asif. II. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. III. Title. IV. Series. TE220.H37 1988 388.11091724-dc19 88-9663


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    The failure to maintain roads is tantamount to an act of disinvestment, for it implies the sacrifice of past investments in roads. Over the past two decades an estimated $45 billion worth of road infrastructure has been lost owing to inadequate maintenance in the eighty-five developing countries reviewed in this poli- cy study. This loss could have been averted with preventive maintenance costing less than $12 billion.

    The loss of physical infrastructure is only part of the picture. Bad roads seldom deter users or curb the volume of traffic. Instead, they raise the cost of road transport-the dominant mode of transport for both people and freight in most countries. A dollar reduc- tion in road maintenance expenditures can increase the cost of vehicle operation by two to three dollars. Insufficient spending for maintenance thus exacts hid- den costs several times the cost of maintaining and restoring roads. Road users bear the brunt of these additional costs, which dwarf the savings to a road agency from deferring or neglecting maintenance.

    Much of the problem of road maintenance is rooted in its economic and institutional aspects. Inadequate incentives and weak accountability derive from the characteristic separation of responsibilities and con- trol between the providers and users of roads. Unlike most other types of infrastructure, roads are neither built nor maintained by those who use them to market output or services.

    Road deterioration is not confined to developing countries. Nor is it a new concern for the World Bank, which published The Road Maintenance Problem and International Assistance in 1981 to draw attention to the matter. What is new, however, is the scale to which road deterioration has progressed in so many develop- ing countries. In this study we have attempted to estimate the physical and financial magnitude of the deterioration and to identify remedial measures ap- propriate to the circumstances of different countries. We have also tried to determine the principal causes of road deterioration and the reasons the problem has become so widespread. Economic adversity is part of the explanation, past mistakes in investment choices are another, but a large part of the problem has to be attributed to institutional failure in the countries themselves.

    The quantification of losses underscores the im- portance of the problem, and the search for causes points the way to needed change and adjustment. Fortunately, the magnitude of the task is lessened by advances in engineering knowledge and experience that permit greater flexibility in the design of road maintenance strategies and a wider selection of solu- tions. This study describes some of the options and presents an institutional framework for implement- ing them in developing countries. It provides an estimate of the resources needed to remedy the situ-

  • ation and suggests ways to use these resources ef- veloping countries. Without corrective action, many ficiently. The recommendations are addressed to the more developing countries may soon face a situation developing countries, the lending and donor agen- in which poor roads, and therefore inadequate road cies, and the development community at large, in- transport, become an insurmountable obstacle to cluding the World Bank. economic recovery and growth.

    This report provides an early warning of a trans- portation crisis in developing countries that will occur if the escalating damage to roads is not con- tained. The portents of such a crisis are visible in the deteriorating road transport conditions in some de- June 1988

    W. David Hopper Senior Vice President

    Policy, Planning, and Research The World Bank


  • Glossary ix Road Conditions ix Road Maintenance and Improvement Works ix Acronyms and Initials x Data Notes x

    Summary 1 The Repair Bill for the Next Ten Years:

    $90 Billion or Much More? 1 What Caused the Deterioration? 1 The Requirements for Efficient Restoration 2 Implications for the World Bank 3

    1. The State of the Roads 5 An Overview of Road Conditions 5 Major Determinants of Road Conditions 7 The Hard Core of the Problem 9

    2. Technical Options and Their Economic Consequences 11 The Fundamental Relations 2 1 Strategies for Road Investment and Maintenance 12 Tactics under Budgetary Constraints 2.5

    3. The Institutional Challenge 17 The Constraints 17 The Search for Solutions 18 Elements of Reform 19 Technical Assistance 21

    4. Financial Requirements 23 The Overall Picture 23


  • Country Differences 25 Marshaling Domestic Resources 27 External Financing and Assistance 28

    5. Conclusions and Policy Recommendations 31 World Bank Policy 32 Action by the International Community 34

    Appendix A. Statistical Tables 37 A-l. Basic Characteristics of Road Networks by Region 39 A-2. Road Networks by Country and Region, 1984 40

    Appendix B. Exploring Cost-Effective Options for Road Investment and Maintenance 45

    Bibliography 59

    Boxes l-l. The Consequences of Road Neglect in Ghana 6 l-2. Nigerias New Roads and the Risk of Massive Deterioration 8 1-3. A Case of Undermaintenance: Brazils Federal Highway Network 9 l-4. The Construction-Maintenance Tradeoff: Consequences for the Road Network 10 2-l. The Highway Design and Maintenance Standards Study 13 3-l. Overstaffing and Resource Imbalances in Kenya 18 3-2. Underutilization of Equipment in Western Africa and Latin America 20 3-3. Twinning of Turkish and U.S. Highway Organizations 21 4-l. Earmarked Road Funds in the Central African Republic 28 4-2. World Bank Lending in Chile 29 5-l. A Diagnostic Framework for Determining External Assistance Policy in the Road Sector 33

    . . . VIII

  • Glossary

    Road Conditions

    Good. Paved roads substantially free of defects and requiring only routine maintenance. Unpaved roads needing only routine grading and spot repairs.

    Fair. Paved roads having significant defects and re- quiring resurfacing or strengthening. Unpaved roads needing reshaping or resurfacing (regraveling) and spot repair of drainage.

    Poor. Paved roads with extensive defects and requir- ing immediate rehabilitation or reconstruction. Un- paved roads needing reconstruction and major drain- age works.

    Road Maintenance and Improvement Works

    Routine maintenance. Local repair of roadway and pavement; grading of unpaved surfaces and shoul- ders; regular maintenance of road drainage, side slopes, verges, traffic control devices, and furni- ture; roadside cleaning, dust and vegetation con- trol, snow or sand removal, and maintaining rest areas and safety appurtenances. Typical costs range from less than $300 a kilometer to more than $5,000 a kilometer.

    Resurfacing. Regraveling an unpaved road or resur- facing a paved road (with a thin asphalt overlay, a surface treatment, or a seal coat) to preserve its

    structural integrity and ride quality. A paved road normally needs resurfacing at the transition from good to fair condition, provided the volume of traffic justifies retaining it in good condition. Resurfacing is sometimes called periodic maintenance, even though all maintenance activities are periodic. Costs can vary from less than $8,000 a kilometer to more than $40,000 a kilometer.

    Rehabilitation. Selective repair, strengthening, and shape correction of pavement or roadway (includ- ing minor drainage improvements) to restore struc- tural strength and ride quality


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